Dog Paws – Caring For Your Dog’s Paws in Winter

Winter can be tough on a dog’s feet, and a dog’s paw pads can be susceptible to many ailments in the snow, ice, and cold winter temperatures. Being exposed to the elements in a cold climate can lead to drying, cracking, injury, frostbite, and even chemical burns to your dog’s feet. The pads of your dog’s feet can become sore and cracked from walking outside in the winter, and while dog booties offer the best protection, there are other steps you can take to ensure that you’re protecting your dog’s paws from the harsh cold and chemicals that can irritate or injure if you don’t want to put boots on your dog.


Preventing Injury to Your Dog’s Feet in Cold Weather

Ice can form on the hairs between the pads, causing discomfort, pain and possibly injury. Snow and salt can also cling and accumulate on the hairs of his or her feet. Keeping the long hairs between the pads trimmed level with the pads will help prevent ice from forming, and eliminating a snow and salt build-up.

Keeping nails trimmed is important in the winter also. Long nails will make your dog’s toes spread when he or she walks, which will allow more room for snow and ice build-up between the toes.



Cleaning Your Dog’s Paws

If you live in an area that gets snow in the winter, you probably live in an area that uses salt and chemicals on the roads and sidewalks, and even plain salt can cause a chemical burn! Wiping your dog’s feet with warm water and a soft cloth after being outside in the winter will both warm his or her feet and remove harmful salt and chemicals, and ensure that none of those harmful de-icing chemicals aren’t ingested by licking.

You can also use paw wipes or a paw plunger to wash off harsh chemicals and salt.


Dog Paw Wipes

Large, ultra soft cotton pads in coconut oil, jojoba oil and aloe.
provides cleaning and moisturizing after being outside .



Dog Paw Plunger

Add warm water, and put one paw in at a time. The soft bristles inside will both warm your dog’s paws and clean off chemicals, salt, and snow accumulation including the nails and between the paw pads. Comes in 3 sizes and 3 colors.



Protection and Healing

Protective balms, waxes, or petroleum jelly put on paw pads before going outside will offer a protective barrier between your dog’s paws and icy surfaces, lessening the risk of cracking and irritation. Wipe off when returning inside to avoid accidental ingestion of any chemicals picked up from treated roads.


Musher’s Paw Protection Wax

100% wax-based cream that will help protect paws from ice and salt (and hot sand or pavement). This wax contains vitamin E to moisturize and help heal wounds.



Pawlife Pad Rescue

This paw protection balm is made with Shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil, and has a warm vanilla scent. Use a thin layer to protect before going outside, and after to help heal dry, cracked paws. The moisturizing properties will help to prevent further cracking and irritation.



Bag Balm
This lanolin-based protective ointment is a well-known and trusted product. Use to help soothe cuts, scratches, abrasions or irritations that your dog may have on his or her paw pads, as well as prevent future chapping or chafing.




Consider Dog Booties

Winter boots for dogs, or dog booties offer the best protection from the elements and injury, and also help your dog retain body heat – which waxes and balms can’t do.

Proper sizing is the key to increased comfort and protection with dog booties.To get the correct size, place your dog’s front paw on a piece of paper and press down to see how the toes spread when he or she is walking. Make a mark on the paper on either side of the paw, and measure the distance between them. Also mark from the heel to the tip of the toenail in case the dog boot you select uses that measurement.  Compare your measurements with the manufacturer’s sizing chart to get the right fit. The following selection offers anti-slip rubber soles, and velco fastening for a secure fit.


My Busy Dog Booties

Water resistant, anti-slip rubber soles, and made with high quality fabrics that are sewn, not glued. Easy to put on and take off with an expanding opening and two adjustable reflective fastening straps with velcro to secure.
8 sizes and 4 colors to choose from


If your dog is not accustomed to wearing anything on her feet, start training with only putting them on and taking them off – starting with only one paw at a time, and working up to doing all four. Once she is comfortable with them being on her feet, allow her to walk in them inside until she can walk comfortably.  As with all training experiences, time and patience are needed.

Your dog’s feet are important. Take a few steps to ensure that her paws are protected from harsh weather conditions, which will contribute to her overall well-being.





  • Chris

    I’ll level with you here – I don’t think our Irish Setter will put up with five seconds of wearing ‘dog booties’ before destroying them! 🙂

    I actually haven’t heard much about this subject before but we do have drastically cold winters where I am situated (Wales, UK). I now know to take more care of my dog’s paws over this period. 

    You’ve listed a few options here – which one would you suggest is best for a larger/taller dog (i.e. Irish Setter)?

    • Shannon

      Irish Setters are beautiful dogs! My Blue Heeler isn’t a fan of dog booties, either, but I was able to train my Boxer to wear them without any problems – he’s much calmer!

      I would suggest at least using the Musher’s wax before you take your dog outside walking, and wipe her feet off when you return inside to remove any harmful deicing chemicals that may be on the roads or sidewalks. Also, keep an eye on her paw pads throughout the season, and if there is any cracking or peeling, use a moisturizing healing balm like Pad Rescue or Bag Balm.

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